Six companies have received N39.2 billion from the Central Bank of Nigeria to speed up the Federal Government’s mass auto gas conversion project in the country.
The disclosure was made by the Governor of the Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele, at the 138 Monetary Policy Committee meeting held in Abuja.
The money is part of the N250 billion intervention facility to help motivate investment in Nigeria’s gas value chain.
Emefiele said, “In furtherance of its intervention in the energy sector, the Bank has disbursed N39.20 billion to six beneficiaries to improve gas-based infrastructure to support the Federal Government’s Auto-Gas Conversion Programme.”
The apex bank governor revealed this four months after the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said the government was collaborating with the regulator to ensure the availability of conversion kits and the mass conversion of vehicles that run on fuel to gas.
The AutoGas Policy was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on December 1, 2020, to hedge the rising cost of petrol in the country.
With the expected cut of subsidies that cost the country around $2billion annually, fuel cost is expected to jump as high as N1000, according to the Department of Petroleum Resources.
But the figure released by the price fixing agency was largely criticised.
The Group Managing Director of the corporation said that the removal of the subsidy will not be anytime soon due to the implication on the average Nigerian.
Based on the auto gas conversion policy, around one million vehicles are expected to be converted- mostly passenger and haulage vehicles by the end of 2021.
Sylva had said in May 2021 that, “If you have a critical mass of vehicles, maybe one million converted to use gas, you must also have a commensurate amount of filling stations that are enabled to fill the one million cars converted.
“So, you cannot do one aspect of it in exclusion, they must go hand in hand, if not, the whole programme will not make sense. We are working right now with the Central Bank of Nigeria to ensure that we are able to bring in conversion kits for a critical mass of vehicles.”